Kunjan Narechania, selected last year as a ‘Future Chief’ by Chiefs for Change, is taking on a new role as chief of the Louisiana Recovery School District (RSD). The RSD announced Thursday a shift in its organizational structure that will increase effectiveness across the state while protecting hard-earned improvements in New Orleans. As part of this shift, leadership and responsibility for the RSD’s statewide work will be assumed by current Assistant State Superintendent Kunjan Narechania, who will oversee the unification of schools in New Orleans and statewide school improvement efforts under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
In spring 2016, Chiefs for Change announced that it had selected Narechania as one of eight Future Chiefs in the program’s inaugural cohort. Chiefs for Change is helping to build a diverse pipeline of Future Chiefs by identifying bold and innovative state and district education leaders. They participate in a year-long program of coaching, mentorship, and collective learning, with the support of some of the nation’s most successful state and local Chiefs. Through the Future Chiefs program, Narechania shadowed Chiefs for Change member Antwan Wilson (now Chancellor of DC Public Schools) when he was superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District.
“We are thrilled to see Kunjan assume this role as chief of the RSD,” said Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee. “Our Future Chiefs program is designed to help emerging leaders develop the skills and networks they will need to build on their existing success and prepare them for the challenge of their roles ahead. Kunjan is an incredibly capable leader. This is great news for the students and families served by RSD schools.”
“While the mission to create autonomous and accountable schools continues, the work of the RSD must evolve to address new opportunities and new challenges,” said Chiefs for Change member and Louisiana State Superintendent John White. “Under [former superintendent] Patrick Dobard’s leadership, RSD schools have made extraordinary strides. At the same time, the RSD must continue to support the unification of schools in New Orleans, and the new federal law renews the call to transform schools around the state. This plan announced today brings the RSD in line with these new opportunities, and I can think of no better individual to lead this work than Kunjan.”
In this role, Narechania will complete the unification of Orleans Parish Schools and will guide the statewide Title I school improvement process as detailed in the state’s ESSA plan. She will also authorize and monitor charter and nonpublic schools statewide. Narechania has served as Assistant Superintendent, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief of Staff at the Louisiana Department of Education, and as Chief of Staff at the Recovery School District. She led the establishment of a new funding formula for all Orleans Parish schools, oversaw the implementation of higher standards for charter school renewals, and is an architect of Louisiana Believes, the state’s comprehensive plan for school improvement.
“This alignment of the RSD with ESSA is critical, and it is an honor to further contribute to the turnaround of the state’s most challenged schools in this new capacity,” Narechania said. “I look forward to working with districts around our state to build plans to improve student learning and to see those plans implemented, just as I look forward to completing the unification of schools in New Orleans, after more than a decade of work to improve them.”
For full details on the realignment of the RSD, see the announcement on the Louisiana Department of Education’s website.
About Chiefs for Change:
Chiefs for Change is a coalition of state education Chiefs and district superintendents dedicated to excellence and equity for all students. Chiefs for Change members lead education systems serving 4.3 million students, 288,000 teachers, and 8,200 schools. Learn more on our website: chiefsforchange.org.